Clare Colley, 27 January 2016

Hundreds of drivers scored free fuel, but many missed out when a Fyshwick petrol station gave away free e10 and diesel for two hours on Wednesday to coincide with the launch of a new petrol discount app.

Fears of traffic chaos failed to eventuate during the promotion from noon to 2pm at Metro Petroleum, but hundreds of drivers who queued for up to two hours in an attempt to score petrol for $1 off a litre were left disappointed.

At 2.05pm Paul Ontong was the last person to drive away happy, after initially fearing he had missed out.

“I was in the driveway [when the offer ended],” he said.

“I filled up with premium unleaded and it cost me $11, I’m very happy after everything.”

Others, such as Melissa Harcan, weren’t so lucky.  She was still “four or five cars away” from the station when the promotion ended.

Ms Harcan was one of the “thousands” of Canberrans who downloaded the Go2 Rewards app and was offered a consolation discount of 10 cents off a litre, but she decided to fuel up at Woolworths Majura instead.

“They should have made the promotion for longer … [but] it was a chance I took,” she said.

“I should have come earlier … the amount of people behind me was crazy.”

Drivers started queuing at the petrol station almost two hours before the fuel promotion began, to take advantage of $1 a litre saving off regular prices.

Because e10 and diesel prices had dipped below $1 (99.7¢ a litre for e10 and 97.7¢ a litre for diesel) drivers could fuel up their first 50 litres for free between noon and 2pm, if they had downloaded the Go2 Rewards app.

The first 50 litres of unleaded fuel (normally 102.7¢ a litre) was 2.7¢ and premium was 22.7¢ during the promotion.

Drivers were undeterred by the wet weather and traffic controllers were on site directing the line of vehicles, which reached as far as the Newcastle Street intersection, under the watchful eye of WorkSafe officers.

Peter Humphries, his wife Maria and their 15-year-old son Rylie were first in line, driving half an hour from Oxley in Canberra’s south, for the promotion before 10.30am.

Mr Humphries said as pensioners, they had to make every cent count.

“I’ve got two tanks. I haven’t filled the other one up yet. I didn’t bring no jerry cans though but that’ll do me. I don’t know if you’re allowed,” he said.

Sweta Dave drove from Gungahlin to take advantage of the $1 discount, but said she was shocked when she was told the first 50 litres of fuel was free.

She came prepared with two jerry cans to stock up on extra diesel.

“It’s really good, who doesn’t want it?” she said.

“I’ve downloaded the app and I’ll definitely use it if it means a price discount.”

While promotions staff were on site encouraging drivers to download the app, some who took advantage of the free fuel claimed they didn’t own a smartphone and the offer appeared difficult to police.

A Go2 Rewards spokeswoman said “a few hundred” cars scored free fuel and the team would have loved to have extended the giveaway.

“The promotion only had approval for two hours but we would like to thank the authorities for helping us with the mayhem,” she said.

“For the loyal Canberrans who lined up today [downloaded the app] and only just missed out on our giveaway, Go2 Rewards will load 10 cents per litre of rewards.”

The discount came as fuel in Sydney and Melbourne dropped to its lowest price in almost a year with Sydney’s average price for unleaded petrol hitting 101.2¢ a litre, with some service stations pumping at 96.9¢ – the lowest price since February, according to the NRMA.

In Melbourne, the average price was 102.9¢ a litre on Wednesday morning – also the lowest since February, according to the RACV – and it was down to 99.9¢ at some bowsers.

The Go2 Rewards app rewards users with fuel discounts for shopping at partner businesses.

The creators claim Canberrans could save a combined total of $40 million a year on fuel by using the app and urge members to “adopt a servo” and upload fuel prices into the app to encourage honesty from suppliers.

The fuel promotion failed to drive down prices at nearby petrol stations, unlike the launch of Costco’s discount petrol station in Majura Park last year that ignited a price war with its neighbour Woolworths Petrol.

At 1.15pm United in Canberra Avenue was selling e10 at 115.7¢ a litre, unleaded at 117.7¢ a litre and diesel at 116.5¢ and BP in Ipswich Street was selling e10 for 115.9¢ and diesel for 104.9¢.

Fyshwick’s two Shell stations were selling e10 at 123¢ a litre, unleaded at 124.5¢ a litre and diesel at 124.9¢.

– with Katie Burgess

Extracted in full from the Canberra Times.